We’re here for you in case of a dental emergency or just when you need maintenance on that smile. But it’s incredibly important to maintain healthy oral hygiene when you’re away from our office. As they say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Brushing & Flossing
This is possibly the most commonly-heard phrase and most recommended practices in a dentist’s office, and for good reason. They are the cornerstone of a good oral hygiene regimen. For more information on proper brushing and flossing, see our Brushing & Flossing page.
Tooth Decay Prevention
Tooth decay is a progressive disease that results from the naturally-occurring bacteria on your teeth interacting with sugars from your diet. The sugars cause a reaction in the bacteria, which produces acids that break down the mineral in teeth. This eventually forms a cavity which, left untreated, can lead to nerve damage. To treat cavities, dentists remove the decay and fill in the tooth with a variety of fillings to bring the tooth back to a healthier state. More advanced damage to the tooth may require a crown, which is like a large filling that can cap a tooth to make it stronger or cover it. Tooth decay is easily avoidable, simply requiring adherence to a good dental hygiene regimen. Brushing and flossing twice a day, regular check-ups with your dentist, diet control, and fluoride treatment are all good practices for good oral hygiene to help avoid unhealthy teeth and treatment that can get costly.
The chewing surfaces of the back teeth are formed by grooves and depressions that make it extremely difficult – if not impossible – to clean thoroughly of food and bacteria. As bacteria collect on these surfaces, they react with food, forming acids which break down tooth enamel and cause cavities. According to recent studies, this is the method by which 88% of cavities in American school children are formed.
Tooth sealants provide a barrier for these susceptible areas by sealing the grooves and depressions. This prevents bacteria and food particles from collecting. Sealant material is a resin, and it is normally applied to areas that are prone to cavities; that is, the molars and premolars. It lasts for several years, but still requires regular dental appointments to keep it in check.
Fluoride is a commonly heard-of substance that helps strengthen teeth and helps them to become resistant to decay. Drinking water treated with fluoride regularly and using treated water to brush and floss helps to significantly lower cavities. Your dentist can evaluate the level of fluoride in primary sources of drinking water and, if necessary, recommend fluoride supplements, which normally come in tablets or drops.